An independent energy company and its local engineering and procurement contractor needed assistance identifying and selecting the appropriate automation and information technologies for the upstream processes to feed a greenfield LNG plant.
The project team needed assistance identifying and selecting the appropriate field-level operational technologies (OT) and associated enterprise-level information technologies (IT) for the upstream processes to feed a greenfield LNG plant in British Columbia. The broad array of hardware and software technology domains involved and the rapid pace of technology change made this particularly challenging. The specific technology domains included:
- Distributed control systems (DCS)
- Programmable logic controllers (PLC)
- Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems
- Safety systems
- Historian software
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and
- Asset management software
The owner-operator had significant domain knowledge of its upstream operations, business processes, and information requirements and its EPC brought a good general understanding of related automation and information technologies to the table. However, with the knowledge that decisions made early in this project could have significant ramifications down the road, both agreed it would be beneficial to engage with an independent third party that could contribute in-depth domain knowledge of all the above technologies, a thorough understanding of the current supplier landscape, and experience successfully guiding other owner-operators through the technology selection process.
The project team wanted to be able to make the right selections for the right reasons. It also wanted to fully document the selection process. In other words, it wanted to make objective, fact-based technology and supplier selection decisions that would stand up to scrutiny.
After reviewing the capabilities of several consulting organizations, the EPC ultimately entered into an agreement with ARC Advisory Group to consult on this ambitious technology review.
Following several face-to-face meetings between the various project stakeholders, ARC proposed a solution that included:
- ARC’s “STAR” supplier selection process for each of the seven technology areas
- Custom consulting services by senior ARC consultants to help guide the project team through the selection process and educate team members on available solutions
- ARC Market Studies for related technologies to provide a good understanding of the supplier landscape
- A one-year ARC Advisory Service subscription to enable the client to keep abreast of current and emerging technology and industry trends
Using ARC’s well-proven supplier selection software tools, ARC’s consultants guided the project team through the process. This included educating team members on the current and emerging technologies and associated drivers in the upstream oil & gas industry; helping identify and weight appropriate specific selection criteria for each of the technology domains; developing a list of suppliers with the appropriate technology solutions, support capabilities, and geographical presence; generating the requests for information (RFIs) for an integrated solution for the seven technology domains; and documenting the entire process.
Both the owner-operator and EPC expressed satisfaction with ARC’s contribution to this technology/supplier selection process. According to an EPC executive, ARC’s effective supplier selection process helped the project team (which included representatives from engineering, IT, and operations) work through the process, iron out their differences, and “get on the same page”. This enabled them to develop a coordinated solution from the currently available technologies; one that addressed the owner-operator’s specific challenges. This made it possible for the project team to garner the prerequisite management support. At present, the project is on hold pending a rebound in energy prices.